Australia is a long way away for more international visitors and that means arduous long-haul flights and maybe a stopover too. But even if you’re coming in from south-east Asia or New Zealand, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a wonderful flight.
If you’re someone who dreads flying, or if you just want to ensure you have a great trip over, then you need to read our 8 tips for an easy flight to Australia.
You might use the services of a travel agent to make your flight arrangements, or you might organise them yourself via an online portal. Sometimes, the best decision is not price-based. If you’re going to be flying a long journey, you really should consider whether you’ll be comfortable with the cheapest option.
Take a little time to think about whether there’s a stopover, what kind of seating, food and entertainment are on offer, and the safety record of the airline. Stopping over means disembarking, hanging out in a foreign airport and then boarding again.
Will you be extra tired? Will you have to buy food or charge your devices? Would you rather take a direct flight? Language might be an issue so if you would prefer an airline that speaks yours, that also has to figure into your plans.
Nobody ‘loves’ flying Economy Class, but the majority of the flying public are found there. It’s the cheaper option, sure, but for just a little extra, you could have extra legroom and other perks. For instance, flying long haul ‘Premium Economy’ with various airlines can cost more but it means you get up to 40 per cent more legroom, priority screening, priority boarding and preferred overhead lockers.
You also get guaranteed first meal choice and the use of premium noise-cancelling headphones. Check with your airline if they offer an additional class of travel between Economy and Business and you might be surprised at how affordable the difference in price can be.
For those not taking direct flights to Australia, a stopover can be an opportunity for a bit of extra fun. You can choose to add a few nights to your itinerary to explore places like Dubai, Manila, Singapore or Hong Kong. Make sure you find out if you need a visa for those destinations and also familiarise yourself with their local laws.
Prepare yourself for many hours of ‘me’ time! Too many people think flying is boring, just because they have to sit in one place for a long time. But think about it; you get non-stop TV, movies and music, food is brought to you and you can sleep as much as you want. Sure, sometimes there are hindrances to sleep but for the most part, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the chance to do nothing.
Take what you need on board with you to ensure you have the most comfortable flight you can. An eye mask, neck pillow and noise-cancelling headphones are must-haves. Wear clothes that are unrestrictive such as yoga pants, sweat pants, a T-shirt and a cardigan or hoodie that you can take off without pulling it over your head. Slip-on shoes are a great idea too.
Take a scarf in case you get cold around your neck and head. Don’t forget to pack all the things you want to use during the flight into a more accessible bag that you can take out of your carry-on and stow under your seat. It should contain your credit card (for in-flight purchases), tablet, book, medications, smartphone (or other device containing your digital entertainment material), toothbrush and toothpaste, your preferred snacks and some chewing gum to help keep your ears from blocking upon descent. Don’t forget to pack a pen for filling out your compulsory Incoming Passenger Card.
Naturally, you’ll want your smartphone, tablet, Bluetooth headphones and other devices to be fully powered up because if you’re flying in Economy, there may be no power outlets depending on the airline you are flying with.
Make sure they’re all fully charged before boarding and consider purchasing an additional power bank, which could give you an extra ten hours or more of charge. Most airports offer charging stations in their gate lounges and food courts but just in case none are available for you, you’ll be glad you thought ahead.
While some airlines offer free alcoholic beverages during the flight, you must always remember to stay hydrated. In fact, the better hydrated you are, the less chance there is of suffering jet lag when you arrive. The air on board a plane is very dry and you could suffer headaches, crankiness and dry skin.
You can take your own reusable water bottle on board (as long as you only fill it after the security checkpoint) but you’ll always be able to get free refills in-flight. Simply ask the cabin crew. They’ll also have free snacks you can have.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms in the deep veins in the legs and can be a significant risk to health. They usually affect passengers over the age of forty but there are many risk factors. Even if you are not particularly at risk, getting up from your seat and moving around is definitely a good thing.
It keeps your circulation healthy, stops your legs from being stiff and is also good for digestion and rest. If you can, try and get up and move around at least once an hour. Go to the lavatory, do a lap around the cabin, stop in the galley (outside of mealtimes) and do some stretches and lunges and then return to your seat.
Sleep in-flight can be elusive for some and impossible to avoid for others. There are lots of natural remedies to help you stay calm and fall asleep. Melatonin is 100 per cent natural and doesn’t result in feeling groggy afterwards like actual medications can. You can take with you a chamomile tea bag and ask the flight attendant for just a cup of hot water, you can pop a magnesium tablet or practice mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques, which can also help with fear of flying.
When you’re travelling to Australia, you want to enjoy the experience of getting here as much as the thrill of arrival. Our 8 tips for flying to Australia will come in very handy but there’s one more: try and get a window seat. You don’t want to miss the beauty of your Australian destination city while landing!